From the horse’s mouth
Press Release (PDF)
I was reading the Engadget article about this Brother multifunction printer and found that this is another example of improving on the printer’s design. The previous examples I have seen and consider of note include the use of a “capillary” pipe system and front-loading ink cartridges to allow for a compact printer design, the design of A3 multifunction inkjet printers and designing compact colour LED printers that use four colour drums.
Typically a printer or multifunction prints in a portrait manner where the paper is fed in to the machine using the short edge. Then the print head works across that sheet along that edge. This has been the way to go for most printers because it was known not to be likely to jam but makes it hard for manufacturers to design a compact printer system with a reduced footprint.
What Brother has done with their latest “Business Smart” inkjet printers, headlined by the MFC-J4510DW is to implement landscape printing. This is where the paper is drawn in by the long edge and the print head moves across the long edge of the page. It has allowed them to design a very shallow machine that doesn’t need to occupy much desk space because the paper is held lengthways within the machine. Another advantage is to avoid the bulky look of paper trays that jut out from the front of the printer, which can be seen to make the machine look ugly.
Of course, the MFC-J4510DW which was cited in the article and the press release has the expectations of a current-specification business printer. These include network connectivity including Wi-Fi, low running costs due to availability of separate-colour cartridges including high-yield cartridges, app-assisted printing from mobile devices and auto-duplex printing which cuts down on paper used, prints documents that are more intuitive to read and opens up desktop-publishing possibilities. It can also print 11”x17” pages as long as the paper is fed in the bypass tray.
There are some limitations like the inability to print without borders when doing auto-duplex printing but I would expect for Brother to iron out these difficulties come the next iteration of this series.
Once these printers are released, it could be a chance for Brother to work further on compact printers that could appeal to particular applications where the narrow footprint is desired.